Guyana Amazon Warriors took advantage of Trinbago Knight Riders’ dramatic Super Over defeat to St Kitts & Nevis Patriots to move two points clear at the top of the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) table with an 81-run victory at Jamaica Tallawahs.
Contributions throughout the order – led by skipper Shoaib Malik’s unbeaten 67 – powered the Warriors to a franchise record 218/6 from their 20 overs, surpassing their previous best of 212 made all the way back in 2014.
The Warriors’ spin-heavy attack then made short work of the Tallawahs’ top order and, despite the returning Andre Russell briefly threatening to do something extraordinary once again as he blasted 40 in 19 balls, the table-toppers eased to their fifth straight win.
Imran Tahir made a key double-strike in the Power Play, removing Chris Gayle and Chadwick Walton. Chris Green removed Javelle Glen, and Qais Ahmad got George Worker with a full-toss.
With eight overs gone, four wickets down and just 51 on the board, the game looked up. But when Dre Russ walks to the middle all things are possible. After two balls he was 10 not out and after his first two overs at the crease the score had leapt from 51/4 to 89/4, with Russell on 29 from just nine balls faced. Three of those nine had been sent over the boundary and two more to it.
Glenn Phillips, having seen the rest of the top order obliterated, was a willing ally and brought up the 50 partnership – and Tallawahs 100 – with a slap over cover for six as Keemo Paul struggled with his radar and front foot, sending down a pair of no-balls to offer free-hit opportunities to two batsmen who hardly needed encouragement.
The partnership had reached 60 in 30 balls when Odean Smith came on and ended Russell’s fun and settled Warrior nerves. There was, in truth, little special about the delivery, but Russell failed to get the elevation he wanted on a flat-bat to cover and Malik held a stinging catch.
With Russell gone, the game went away quickly. Paul, having gone for 33 in his first two overs, took three wickets in his third. First and most significantly he had Phillips caught behind for 40 to end any realistic hopes the Tallawahs had of getting close, before Dwayne Smith sliced one to deep point and Ramaal Lewis, surprised by extra bounce, give Nicholas Pooran another catch behind the stumps.
Zahir Khan then ran himself out for nought before some wild running and occasionally successful swiping from Jade Dernbach and Oshane Thomas took the score to 137 before Qais finished things off.
While the Warriors bowling was impressive, this was a victory earned with the bat. The Warriors always had an aggressor at the crease as they cruised past 200 in a well-constructed innings built on solid partnerships for the second, third and fourth wickets.
After Chandrapaul Hemraj was dismissed by Dernbach’s first ball of the night in the second over, Shimron Hetmyer took up the initial attack while Brandon King played the support role.
Hetmyer swatted the fourth ball he faced over midwicket for a Hero Maximum and then crashed four fours from Dernbach’s second over. Thomas’ second over was also targeted, two more fours and a magnificent six hit in-to-out over extra cover.
When Hetmyer fell six short of a half-century, bowled by a bail-trimmer from Dwayne Smith, King took over.
Having been 9 not out from 15 balls at one stage, King raced to his half-century in just 18 further deliveries. Zahir Khan and Dwayne Smith were both struck for back-to-back Hero Maximums, with King hitting four fours and six sixes in all before holing out to long-on in Lewis’ first over for 59.
Exit King, enter Shoaib. Warriors captain Malik had, like King earlier, been prepared to play second fiddle while a team-mate was flying. Shoaib had just 12 from 11 balls when King was dismissed, but flayed Thomas over point for six in the next over before putting Lewis on to the roof.
Now, though, the Warriors had two players cutting loose, Pooran hitting perhaps the two most attractive sixes of the night with a one-leg pull off Thomas and a glorious straight drive off Dernbach.
Russell got him for 20 from 11, top-edging a short ball to keeper Glenn Phillips, but Malik continued to find the boundary and was joined by Sherfane Rutherford who hit Dernbach for back-to-back sixes before skying one to square-leg to give the bowler a measure of revenge.
Malik went through to his 50 from 31 balls, though, steering the Warriors to their biggest ever score and consolidating top spot in the Hero CPL table.